From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 07:32:43


                         BY PESO CRISIS 
                     by Jerry L. Van Marter 
KINGSVILLE, Texas--The economic crisis in Mexico that has sent the 
value of the peso plummeting is taking a serious toll on students 
at the Presbyterian Pan American School (PPAS) here, which draws 
about 50 percent of its students from Mexico. 
     About 70 percent of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related 
coeducational college-preparatory school's students receive 
financial aid.  The devalued peso means parents can afford a 
smaller percentage of their children's tuition, which in turn puts 
more stress on available financial aid funds at the school. 
     Wayne Hawkins, PPAS director of development, explained, 
"Consider a currency that trades at a ratio of three to the dollar.  
If it suddenly fell to a ratio of six to the dollar, we would say 
that it dropped 50 percent versus the dollar.  However, if you are 
on the other side of the border and are buying dollars you need 
twice as many pesos, so your cost has increased 100 percent.  
Imagine your salary was fixed, and a major expenditure, such as 
your mortgage payment, suddenly doubled.  Compound the problem with 
a 20 percent inflation rate.  Would you be in trouble?" 
     All students have been re-enrolled for the spring semester, 
said PPAS president Abraham Torres, even though many parents will 
not be able to meet tuition payments.  "We are operating on faith 
that somewhere we will find a means to meet the shortfall.  
Explanations about balances of trade and exchange rates are totally 
unsatisfying to hurting teenagers who fear their dreams may be 
coming to an end.  We can't allow that to happen, can we?" 
     The school's board of trustees met in late January to organize 
a special appeal to churches and individuals.  An Extra Commitment 
Opportunity account (ECO #862808) has been established in 
Louisville.  Those wishing to contribute may do so through their 
congregation, including on the check the ECO account number and the 
words "PPAS Scholarships."  
                             # # # 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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